Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort – Adults Only
What We Love
- On-site art gallery (just outside the restaurant) features work by local artists and craftspeople
- Two Japanese hot baths are serene spots to unwind and stargaze
- The impressive library, stocked with 1,200 books, is a bibliophile's heaven
What To Know
- This is an adults-only resort
- The ocean views are impressive but distant
- There are two identical pool areas—one is clothing-optional, the other for the more modest
- Adults Only
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Built in 1975 by Hollywood producer Lawrence Spector with the profits from the hugely successful motorcycle classic Easy Rider, these cedar-and-redwood cabins were designed to blend into and be at one with the landscape. A total renovation in 2008 preserved the high-end, all-natural ’70s aesthetic (think stone fireplaces and light flooding through huge windows) while updating the property with modern necessities. Ventana’s 60 rustic-chic guest rooms are done up in restful colors of sage, russet, and cream with huge King beds and river rock fireplaces that bring the natural world inside, as well as big windows and decks that look out onto California’s most spectacular scenery—towering redwoods, craggy canyons, and white-capped waves. Spa-like bathrooms encourage relaxation with deep soaking tubs and rainfall shower heads. The luxury-camp-for-adults appeal takes hold quickly here. Overlooking a stretch of wild and unspoiled Big Sur coastline where the Santa Lucia range plunges into the Pacific, Ventana Inn & Spa sits on 243 wooded acres some 1,200 feet above the pounding surf. The resort’s trails meander through forests teeming with deer, falcon, fox, and wild turkey. The rocky shores reveal Mother Nature’s water-washed treasures to beachcombers, and cedar-walled Japanese hot tubs open to blue skies or starry nights. Tuck into locally sourced coastal dishes at The Restaurant at Ventana, where the sweeping Pacific Ocean views are just as good as the fresh fare.
In the Area
The Henry Miller Library has a display of novelist Henry Miller’s original manuscripts. Check ahead for a schedule of outdoor concerts by the likes of Philip Glass and Arcade Fire. Point Sur Lighthouse — dramatically positioned on a volcanic rock high above the Pacific — is worth the walk. The Ambrosia Burger on the deck of 1940s Nepenthe restaurant, in a cliffside house once owned by Orson Welles and his bride Rita Hayworth, is aptly named and worth the wait, which can be quite long on weekends. Hunks of California jade wash up at Jade Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Sur coast. Jade colors range from the traditional green to light blue to pure black. Low tide is the best time to look. The Coast Gallery, established in 1958 in a historic house nestled in Redwood Canyon (1,000 feet above sea level with uninterrupted views of Big Sur and the headland), is a great place to buy art.
How to Get There
Rooms are cozy and clean. We stayed in the fireplace guest room and really loved the tub that opened to the rest of the room and of course, the fireplace. It was a good size. Bags were delivered seamlessly. I will say there was construction. But didn’t bother too much on weekdays. We were up early anyway bc of the time difference. There was no work on weekends. LOVED wine and cheese hour at 4pm. The view and garden atmosphere feels so peaceful and heavenly. Even when foggy, it feels like you’re up in the clouds enjoying a slice of heaven. Great common areas. Loved the board games.
Restaurant - so many ppl serving you but slow service and requests get bounced around until the right person can help. Frustrating but the ambience, view, and weather help distract. Food is delicious and fresh.
Have been here before and it was much better then. Things in room were broken, kept getting other people’s deliveries and they made us wait so long to get our bags that we just dragged them down ourselves. Could use a tiny bit more variety in the menu offerings, but the valet staff was very nice and quick. I think the staff are great people, maybe they were just a little off their game this time. Room was dusty.
I have stayed at Ventana several times and the room rates have now reached eye watering levels. Unfortunately the level of service has got worse and worse to the point of being non existent in the restaurant for both breakfast and dinner. If the waiting staff managed to remember an order in full it would be deemed a miracle. Twice the kitchen ran out of country bread.The food is mediocre - tasteless and over fussy. Less is more. The property is now booking weddings which are taking precedence over normal bookings. The peace and tranquility was ruined by drum and bass going on until midnight at the wedding reception - it was supposed to stop at 2200 but nobody bothered to shut it down. I stayed 4 nights and was told by 3 different members of staff that the very cold floor in the bathroom would be heated up by the NON EXISTENT under floor heating. The wi-fi was out for about 24hrs but nobody could make their minds up what was wrong and when it would be fixed. I was told that an IT engineer would attend site on day 2 of the outage; that turned out to be another untruth. Let's be clear - both mobile and internet connectivity is usually fine on this part of Big Sur.
I have read the reviews for the last 12 months and all the negative ones complain about the same thing - awful service, poor food and the prices. The replies from management were identical and the promised corrective actions have not been taken, as I wouldn't have had the experience I had. If you are going to charge luxury prices, I expect luxury service. This property is managed by Hyatt who seem to be charging the earth, ramping up new revenue streams, ruining the peace and tranquility whilst providing service across the board that is appalling. Finally, please could refund $800 that you owe me and which still hasn't arrived.
You really don't need to bring anything but food to cook in your campsite and clothes. They've taken care of everything else. It is the laziest camping experience I have ever had. So relaxing in the redwoods.
An absolute oasis - beautiful property - outstanding rooms, even better hotel staff. The ONLY downside and reason for 4 and not 5 on review was the restaurant. Very disappointed! We ate there 2 nights, and on both occasions the service was VERY, very slow. And they were not busy either night. In addition, it's a very limited menu with only a few choices each night...and they were the same choices each night.